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Title

Detailed analysis of the promoter activity of an attenuated lentivirus

AuthorsBlatti-Cardinaux, Laure; Sanjosé, Leticia ; Zahno, Marie-Luise; Zanoni, Reto; Reina, Ramsés ; Bertoni, Giuseppe
KeywordsVirulence
Lentivirus
Visna maedi virus
Caprine arthritis encephalitis virus
Cell tropism
LTR
Issue Date2016
PublisherMicrobiology Society
CitationJournal of General Virology 97: 1699-1708 (2016)
AbstractIn spite of an eradication campaign that eliminated clinical cases of caprine arthritis encephalitis virus-induced arthritis in the Swiss goat population, seroconversions are still observed. In the affected flocks, viruses belonging mainly to the small ruminant lentivirus A4 subtype are regularly isolated. These viruses are considered attenuated, except in the mammary gland, where high viral loads and histopathological lesions have been observed. We previously characterized and sequenced such field isolates, detecting several potentially attenuating mutations in their LTR. Here we present a detailed analysis of the promoter activity of these genetic elements, which was comparable to those of virulent isolates. An AP- 1 binding site was shown to be crucial for promoter activity in reporter gene assays and also in the context of a replicating molecular clone. Other sites, such as AML(vis) and a conserved E-box, appeared to be less crucial. Analysis of a unique AP-4 site showed a clear discrepancy between results obtained with reporter gene assays and those with mutated viruses. Within the limits of this in vitro study, we did not find evidence pointing to the LTR as the genetic correlate of attenuation for these viruses. Finally, the limited replication of SRLV A4 in mammary cell culture could not explain the suggested mammary tropism. In contrast, and in view of the abundance of macrophages in the mammary gland, it is the striking replication capacity of SRLV A4 in these cells, unaffected by all LTR mutations tested, which may explain the apparent mammary tropism of these viruses.
Publisher version (URL)http://doi.org/10.1099/jgv.0.000489
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/141209
DOI10.1099/jgv.0.000489
Identifierse-issn: 1465-2099
issn: 0022-1317
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